“High value” international business travellers will not have to quarantine when travelling to England, even if they come from places classed as high-risk for the coronavirus, the UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Thursday.
TV production staff, journalists, some performing arts professionals and “recently signed elite sportspersons” will also be exempt “subject to specific criteria being met.”
The current rules require travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on return from a country that is not on the UK’s “safe” travel corridor list.
Shapps said the change will allow “more travel to support the economy and jobs.” The exemptions come into place at 4 a.m. on Saturday.
The Department for Transport said the change relates to individuals “undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the UK economy – including activity that creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs.”
But the guidance said individuals “will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.”
It also applies to “high talent” individuals working in certain arts and sports jobs that require international travel.
The department added: “Public Health England do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”
While other European countries have introduced testing for travellers to replace quarantines, the UK has maintained strict rules on self-isolation for several months, despite calls from the aviation sector to change tack.
But these rules will be loosened in England from December 15, when travellers can be released early from quarantine after receiving a negative Covid test.